Commissioners to hold workshops on courthouse plans
By BRUCE ALSOBROOK, News-Telegram Managing Editor
May 28, 2008 - Hopkins County officials decided Tuesday they will set up workshops in the future to discuss plans to expand county office space.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Beth Wisenbaker made the motion during a regular meeting of Hopkins County Commissioners Court Tuesday, when the county's governing panel was slated to discuss a proposal by District Judge Robert Newsom to build a new court facility next to the county jail, and also expand the jail.
Newsom's plan would also call for the sale of the Fidelity Express building, which the county bought in early 2007 after developing a plan to use the property to house new courtrooms and offices, such as the county and district clerk.
Some of the elected judges and officials who would have moved into the Fidelity building after it was remodeled, however, balked at the plan, and the commissioners court itself was at a "stalemate" on what to do.
Wisenbaker, who asked that the item be placed on the Tuesday agenda for discussion, proposed the idea of holding workshops to discuss the merits of both plans, asking that other commissioners go into the workshops with "open minds."
Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap did not oppose the idea of holding workshops but said "I want to move pretty fast" on making an ultimate decision.
He also indicated he didn't like the idea of building the new court facility at the proposed location north of the county jail.
"I mean, there's water standing (on the property)," he said. "We'd be putting a courthouse next to a feed mill, by railroad tracks. This is the site that Judge Newsom, I presume, would like to put a new facility.
"We'll give Judge Newsom his day in court," Millsap said at the conclusion.
A separate item on the agenda to discuss the sale of the Fidelity Express building was tabled without action.